It probably comes as no surprise, but a recent study confirms that while most women like to follow up sex with intimacy—talking, kissing, or cuddling—men prefer “extrinsically rewarding” activities like smoking, drinking, or eating.
“The vast majority of the research on the evolutionary psychology of human reproduction focuses on what’s before and leading up to sexual intercourse,” said Susan Hughes, author of the study. “But reproductive strategies don’t end with intercourse; they may influence specific behaviors directly following sex.”
Participants in the study were asked to fill out a questionnaire which found that men—apart from preferring non-cuddle activities—were also more likely to initiate additional sexual activity. Shocker.
As Hughes explains it, evolution may dictate that women remain still after sex in order to (ahem) retain semen and increase chances of fertilization. In contrast, men are driven to increase the frequency of sexual activity to make sure their genetic material gets passed on.
There were some substantial differences though, between people who were looking for short-term versus long-term relationships. Women looking for something short term were more likely to take after their male counterparts and want a snack or a drink after sex. (They were also more likely to shower right after sex.)
One of the only things that both genders could agree on though, was the importance of saying “I love you” to a long term partner before, during, and after sex.
“Of all the items measured, it was the only one that didn’t yield any significant sex differences,” says Hughes. “It makes sense that if both a man and a woman want a long-term relationship, they both understand that after sex may be a time of bonding and expressing their love for each other. Men who are in love might realize it’s especially important to their partner that they show their devotion.”
Guys—if you don’t know how to cuddle, here’s is an instructional video: